12 Nerdy Things to Do This December in Metro Phoenix
With all due respect to the rest of the calendar, December is the geekiest month of the year. As a kid, it’s when you got amazing Christmas gifts that fueled your nerdom for years. As an adult, it’s the month when you can get crafty, dress up the tree with geeky decorations, or shop for nerdy items.
Some of these same activities make up the following list of geek activities and events in the Valley this month. Highlights include Mystery Science Theatre 3000’s latest live tour snarking its way into town, a Santa-themed bar crawl, and the chance to meet the actor behind Darth Maul.
There are also puppets, cosplay events, and the chance to hang out with furry felines and fursuit fans. Read on, geek out, and have a happy holiday season.
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McClane. Gruber. Puppets.
All Puppet Players
Die Hard: A Christmas Story
Some things are inescapable during the holidays, such as Christmas music and bad Lifetime made-for-TV movies about city slickers falling in love while visiting quaint mountain towns. In recent years, it’s also become increasingly hard to avoid the pointless social media argue over whether Die Hard is or isn’t a holiday movie. While the All Puppet Players’ staging of Die Hard: A Christmas Story, a cloth-and-felt reimagining of the 1988 action flick, probably won’t sway you to either side, it’ll definitely entertain. It’s the same epic plot you remember (everyman cop versus European terrorists inside a high-tech highrise), albeit with puppets. Performances run every Thursday to Sunday evenings until December 26. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. and are only open to those 17 and older. Tickets are $29 to $81.
Libraries long have been a place to get your geek on, thanks to their wealth of lendable media and ephemera covering a multitude of subjects. So it’s only fitting that the Velma Teague Library, 7010 North 58th method in Glendale, would great number an event like LibCon West, an afternoon-long geek extravaganza happening from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 4. All the geeky hallmarks of a con are promised, including vendor booths, cosplayers, and crafty and geeky activities. Live entertainment will include stylish lightsaber combat by Syndicate Saber United, pirate shenanigans by the DREAD Fleet, and live music from Minibosses (video game covers) and the Phoenix Conservatory of Music (pop-cultural tunes). Best of all, almost everything takes place outdoors, which should help lessen any COVID-19 fears. Admission is free and more info is obtainable here.
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Actor and comedian Paul Reiser.
Geeks are certainly no strangers to Paul Reiser. While the actor and comedian is best known for his time on Mad About You, he’s also had noticable turns in nerd-friendly projects, like the slimy and duplicitous Weyland-Yutani stooge Carter Burke in Aliens and the, uh, slimy and duplicitous Dr. Sam Owens in Stranger Things. (His roles on The Kominsky Method and The Romanoffs have also been pretty noticable.) Reiser’s also one helluva stand-up comic who gigs at clubs on the regular and is scheduled to perform a two-night stint at CB Live, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard, on Saturday, December 4, and Sunday, December 5. Performance times vary and admission is $25 (plus a two-drink minimum).
UZA MysCreation’s Christmas Haunted allurement
Like your holidays to be more scary than merry? This two-story characterize and haunt produced by UZA MysCreation, 2935 West Libby Street, will offer a ho-ho-horrific mix of festive revelry and bone-chilling scares from Friday, December 10, to Sunday, December 12. It will boast a Krampus theme with multiple versions of the mythical Christmas demon lurking about on both floors. Expect both thrills and chills. Hours are from 7 to 9 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10 online, $12 at the door.
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Costumed Kris Kringles will be welcome at the Santa-Pede bar crawl.
Santa-Pede Bar Crawl
One of the hallmarks of the holidays in the Valley prior to the pandemic was the annual Arizona Cacophony Society’s annual Santarchy bar crawl, a one-night invasion of local drinking establishments by hordes of people dressed as Kris Kringle or other Christmas-related costumes. Since it appears the event will be on interruption this year, the first-ever Santa-Pede bar crawl on Saturday, December 11, in Tempe seems like a worthy substitute. It’s not affiliated with the Cacophony Society in any way but will offer a similar setup and shtick to Santarchy. Participants are promoted to dress like Santa or other festive characters and drink their way by bars like The Golden Pineapple, Monkey Pants, and Time Out Lounge before winding up at Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern method. A collection of art cars, DJs, and bands will be awaiting them. The crawl starts at 6 p.m. and it’s free to participate (you have to pay for your own drinks, though). complete details and the route are obtainable here.
It’s Feline a Lot Like Christmas Cat Show
If you’ll fur-give us for the bad puns we’re about to unleash, the Phoenix Feline Fanciers will put on this two-day cat show and adoption event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 12, at Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street. It’s open to both cat fanciers and those who like interacting with fuzzy adorable felines. More than 40 breeds will be on characterize – from Abyssinians and Sphinxes to Maine Coons and Persians – with eight judging rings. Activities and competitions for more household breeds are also planned.
Looking for the purr-fect gift to spoil your fur babies? Vendors will sell everything from collars and clothing to toys, cat furniture and toys, and already jewelry. No kitten. Local adoption agencies and rescue groups will also be on hand for those who’d like to take home a new companion animal for the holidays. Admission is $10 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $7 for kids 3 to 12.
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The Force is strong with this one.
Gordon Tarpley/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Ray Park Signing Appearances
He brought one of the fiercest Sith Lords in the galaxy to life and gave anyone holding a broom manager or golf ball retriever a role form. Scottish actor, martial artist, and stunt performer Ray Park will forever be known for his role as Darth Maul and for helping revolutionize lightsaber combat in the Star Wars universe and making The Phantom Menace a slightly watchable film. It’s not his only geeky claims to fame as he’s also famously played Toad in the original X-Men movie and Snake Eyes in the G.I. Joe films. Park is scheduled to visit the Valley in mid-December for a pair of signing appearances at local geek businesses. He’ll be at Surprise Comics, 14763 West Cactus Road, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, and at Collector’s Marketplace, 1945 East Indian School Road, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 12. Autographs or selfies will each will be $60 each, or $100 for both. click to enlarge
The last meteor shower of the year is upon us.
Henry Lee/CC BY-ND 2.0/Flickr
Geminid Meteor Shower
Heads up astronomy geeks: The annual Perseid meteor shower will light up the nighttime skies over Arizona (and the complete northern hemisphere for that matter) in early-to-mid-December. Its one of the biggest meteor showers of the year (with upwards of 50 meteors per house) and will peak on the evening of Monday, December 13, into Tuesday, December 14. In other words, you’ll have to stay up late or get up early will be able to see a multitude of meteors. Your best bet is to look towards the eastern sky between midnight and dawn in an area of the Valley that’s as dark as possible (read: the outskirts of town).
Island of Misfit Toys Burlesque
Santa might be adding the various burlesque artists of Three Fates Revue to his naughty list after this holiday showcase on Sunday, December 19, at Cruisin’ 7th, 3702 North Seventh Street. According to the troupe’s Pepper Schnapps, they’ll perform an “oddball burlesque show complete of sexy, nerdy acts” throughout the evening. Local drag artists and variety performers will also be involved in the event. Doors are at 4 p.m. and the show starts at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 for standing-room-only and $20 for regular seating. More info can be found here.
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Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Live: The Time Bubble Tour
It’s a great time to be a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The folks behind the iconic movie-riffing show recently announced the lineup of craptastic flicks they’ll be skewering when MST3K relaunches on its Gizmoplex streaming service in March. If you need some cinematic snark to tide you over, the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Live: Time Bubble Tour comes to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on Wednesday, December 29. The show will see the Satellite of Love captives (including current great number Emily Connor and old favorites Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and GPC) doing a live riffing of the 1985 horror-fantasy film Making Contact. Robot roll-call is at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $37.50 to $78, VIP packages are $125, and a special meet-and-greet package is $199. Tickets and details are obtainable here.
Painted Desert Fur Con
Furry fandom is more than just bad jokes, half-truths, and half-baked portrayals seen in pop culture. (for example, it has absolutely nothing to do with sex, fetishism, or deviancy, despite what TV shows like Entourage would rule you to believe.) Just ask any of the people in attendance at the latest Painted Desert Fur Con, the three-day event at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 North Third Street. The annual event is for dedicated followers of the geek subculture or those who might want to get involved with it. According to PDFC’s website, activities at the con will include panels, costuming events, workshops, a dealer’s den and artist’s alley, dance competitions, and special guests. Event hours vary and admission starts at $60.
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